Lease deal secures future of The Square
HARLOW’S premier live music venue will be rocking into the next decade after securing a ten-year extension on its lease.
The long-term future of The Square had looked uncertain ever since the building’s owners Circle Housing Group announced plans to redevelop the adjacent former YWCA block into new flats.
Initially, the housing association planned to demolish the tower block on Fourth Avenue to make way for a purpose-built development, raising questions over what would happen to the neighbouring venue.
But as reported in the Star last week, Circle have now unveiled plans to refurbish the existing building instead – and have offered The Square a ten-year lease extension as part of the deal.
This week promoter and business partner Adam Smith told the Star the venue’s management team were "relieved" to finally know where they stand.
"We’ve come a long way since we took over almost five years ago now", he said.
"Up until now, the long-term future of The Square was always in doubt, and that has held us back a bit in terms of what we want to do with the venue to take it forwards.
"But this lease extension now gives us the security we need to start making plans again, so it’s a very exciting time for us."Adam said business owners SquareOne Entertainment would now be exploring the possibility of opening up the venue in the daytime to offer music tuition.
"We’ve really been running the venue as a non-profit venture so far, putting all the proceeds into making sure we stay open from day-to-day, but we’ll now be looking at ways we can start bringing in extra money to do other things," he explained.
"One of the things we’re looking at is to use The Square as an education centre for all things music, whether that’s instrument tuition, sound production or lighting."
And although Circle Housing Group have not yet pledged any money towards a potential refurbishment of the venue, Adam added that the team remained hopeful of securing funding to modernise the building in line with the new development next-door.
"Nothing’s really been said yet about refurbishing the venue itself, but we’re obviously hoping that Circle will look at revamping the exterior so it fits in with the shiny new flats!
"But the most important thing is that we’ve now got the security of a ten-year lease now, so as long as we can keep the business viable, people in Harlow will be able to enjoy live music here for a long time to come."
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